NEW YORK - A leading provider of digital-security services wants to make disposable passwords easier for consumers to accept by squeezing the technology into the corner of a regular credit or ATM card.
Fran Rosch, vice president for authentication services at VeriSign Inc., said the one-time passwords haven't taken off in the United States partly because consumers need to carry a small device that generates passwords on the fly. That barrier is removed, he said, by having the technology built into cards consumers already carry.
VeriSign was expected to announce a deal Tuesday with Innovative Card Technologies Inc. to outfit banks and e-commerce sites with cards that work with VeriSign's password system.
With the card, consumers logging on to an online bank account, for instance, would type in their regular username and password, along with a six-digit code that appears on the card's display window. That code constantly changes, meaning the customer needs to have possession of the card to access the account.
Security companies like VeriSign and EMC Corp.'s RSA Security Inc. have been promoting one-time passwords and other "two-factor" authentication systems to combat "phishing" and other scams aimed at tricking users into revealing sensitive data like passwords.
By requiring a second code that is tied to a device or a card in the user's possession, an online account remains protected even if the regular password is compromised. If a customer loses the device or card, someone would still need to know the username and password to log on.
Banks and merchants participating in VeriSign's password network can share codes, so consumers wouldn't have to carry multiple cards and devices or even one of each.
VeriSign said it expects to announce a major bank using its cards in May, and those would be compatible with services currently using devices. The company already has agreements with eBay Inc, eBay's PayPal service, Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news) and Charles Schwab Corp. to issue password-generating devices that use Verisign's technology.